Do I pay the childminder?
Hi, I would like some advice please. I've just had my tax credits suddenly cut by a lot, meaning I cannot afford my current situation with childminder to continue. I have had to make alternative arrangements for my children immediately and gave my childminder a weeks notice. However the childminder now says I owe her a months notice even though she knows I can't afford this and would not be looking after my children during this time anyhow. I don't want to get in debt.
What was the agreement at the beginning of the "transaction"?
That the agreement may be terminated by either party upon giving one month's notice?
It states notification of 4 weeks to be given by either side to terminate contract. It doesn't mention pay for those 4 weeks.
It doesn't need to spell that out. Four weeks notice to terminate a service you pay daily/weekly for means you can't terminate her PAID service until a total of 31 days/four weeks after the day on which you've told her you'll no longer be needing her. If you fail to pay her, therefore, whether or NOT you ask her to still actually mind your children at any time within the duration of that notice period (say, because you took your kids on a 4-week holiday abroad), she would have an open-and-shut case to take to Small Claims court.
Were you not given warning that your tax credits would be getting reduced, prior to the cut-off day arriving? If you weren't, and if it's known protocol that you should have, then it's the relevant tax office you should be complaining to (logically, their notice period and hers - which I'm sure is standard amongst childminders - should have coincided... or surely any global cut of theirs would be putting hundreds of thousands of women/parents in this 'can't pay my notice period' situation?). But what you absolutely can't do is make a problem the tax office are causing you, HER problem, because she herself has not done anything wrong (something that runs counter to what was stipulated in the contract) that deserves being penalised for.
The better thing to do (assuming you had no prior tax cut warning or the tax credit office don't *give* any warning) is to make use of that notice period, having explained the situation to her and forged an arrangement whereby your new/next childminder starts the very day after the notice period ends, meaning, you pay childminder at whatever lesser daily/weekly rate you CAN afford and then pay off the balance sum you owe her over whatever period thereafter that she'll accept (6 months, a year, two years...it's up to her as contract setter) to make paying back the deficit more do-able. Alternatively, if she won't or can't agree to help, you take a small bank loan and pay it back in manageable, contractually-agreed instalments over whatever period the size of instalments works out at.
E.g. her fee over a month's period amounts to Â£xxx but you can only pay Â£xx, leaving Â£x as an owed amount payable to her in small monthly instalments over a 6 month period OR you borrow the extra Â£x from the bank, leaving zero owed to her but Â£x owed to the bank which you pay back in much smaller monthly instalments over a year/whatever.
Is the tax office supposed to give you fair warning period and, if so, did they?
There you go, good suggestion from Soulmate
Hope it works out for you.